Welcome to The Dalles and the sun drenched eastern entrance to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
We are thrilled to show you all we have to offer. We are proud of our community’s rich history.
As a historic Native American trading area, The Dalles has been the center of commerce for more than 10,000 years. Our city is also known as the end of the Oregon Trail, where pioneers loaded their wagons onto rafts or barges and floated down the Columbia to the mouth of the Willamette River, then upriver to Oregon City. The name The Dalles is derived from the French word dalle, meaning flagstone, and was applied to the narrows of the Columbia River, above the present city of The Dalles, by French-Canadian employees of the fur companies.
The passage, with emigrants and their wagons crowded onto a small wooden raft, was often perilous. As N.M. Bogart described in 1843, “When trying to pass some of the Cascades their frail craft would get caught in one of the many whirlpools, the water dashing over them, and drenching them through and through.” The Barlow Toll Road opened in 1845, offering emigrants an alternative to the Columbia River route to Oregon City. The wagon ride along the toll road took a long route around Mount Hood, but it was a much safer method than rafting.
Just 75 minutes from Portland and with 300 days of sunshine a year and fantastic recreational and cultural opportunities, The Dalles is a wonderland for Cyclists, Hikers, River Rafters, Anglers, Art Lovers, History Buffs and Wine Aficionados. We hope you’ll return again and again!